Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of NI workers face 'large-scale redundancy' after collapse of Carillion

By John Mulgrew

Hundreds of Northern Ireland workers face the threat of “large-scale redundancy” after Carillion staff were sent home today following the collapse of the infrastructure giant.

The listed firm entered liquidation on Monday, six months after it issued a huge profits warning.

It has three major contracts with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), worth around £35m a year, for maintenance.

Carillion employs around 500 workers here, with around 230 working for the NIHE.

Trade union Unite said, following a meeting with staff today, that members were “instructed to go home” when they came to work.

Unite's regional secretary, Jackie Pollock, said:

“Unfortunately today, our members have reported that when employees presented for work this morning they were instructed to go home.

“Agency workers were told that they should return to their employment agency for further instructions and those who drove vehicles were instructed to remove all personal possessions and return them.

“It is clear that despite those assurances from the Housing Executive we are facing the threat of large-scale redundancy.”

A spokesman for the Housing Executive said: “The Housing Executive is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will implement contingency arrangements regarding our maintenance and heating services as soon as required.

“We will provide a further update in due course.”

Talks were held throughout the weekend between Government ministers and company officials in a bid to keep Carillion in business, but they broke up on Sunday evening without a deal.

Earlier this month the Belfast Telegraph revealed the firm was trying to sell off tens of millions of pounds in Northern Ireland Housing Executive contracts along with the rest of its business across Ireland.

Documents seen by this newspaper, showed the company had prepared a deal for companies to take on all the current Housing Executive contracts. The work, worth around £35m each year, could be valued at more than £400m if some deals are extended as far as 2042.

Consultancy firm EY as part of its "project Lion" has approached suitable businesses to take on the contracts in Northern Ireland.

Today, PwC, which is handling the liquidation, said: “The Official Receiver’s priority is to ensure the continuity of public services while securing the best outcome for creditors.

“Unless told otherwise, all employees, agents and subcontractors are being asked to continue to work as normal and they will be paid for the work they do during the liquidations.”

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington is to make a statement to the House of Commons on Carillion at approximately 4.15pm this afternoon.

The group, which employs around 20,000 British workers, has been struggling under £900m of debt and a £587m pension deficit.

Aside from NIHE contracts, it also employs workers with Power NI and the Ministry of Defence.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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